Save Money, Don’t Use Soap!

Posted by Mrs Money on February 2nd, 2010

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Suds, Hearts & Bokeh
Creative Commons License photo credit: AJU_photography

Stop using soap and you’ll save money, the environment, and possibly improve your health! Well, honestly, I wouldn’t stop using soap altogether, but I would recommend doing a few things differently in regards to soap use. For starters, in our household, we don’t buy soap with triclosan. I believe that antibacterial soaps everyday can be overkill and eliminate too much bacteria (there is friendly bacteria, after all!) and can make the body resistant to antibiotics.   I do also believe there is a time and place for antibacterial soaps, but in general household use, it probably is not needed at every hand washing.

Here are some tips to help slow your soap usage:

  • When purchasing soap for your home, skip the antibacterial soaps with triclosan.  Make sure you wash your hands for around 20-30 seconds with hot water and regular soap.  You can sing “happy birthday” (either in your head or out loud) twice while doing so.
  • If you are eating a lot of fruits and veggies, chances are your plates are not getting very dirty.  If you use hot water and sprinkle some baking soda on them, wash, and then do a vinegar rinse, you will get them clean.  If you aren’t scared, you can also just rinse them in hot water.
  • Purchase natural bar soap or make your own.  Studies show that plain soap is as just as effective as antibacterial soap.
  • Buy a bottle of Dr. Bronner’s soap.  You can use this for so many things: refill your hand soap dispensers with a 1:3 soap to water solution, use it for cleaning around the house, for shampoo, body soap, etc!
  • When you buy new dish washing soap, buy a non toxic soap such as Mrs. Meyer’s . I LOVE the basil scent. It makes doing dishes something I enjoy!

These are just a few ideas to get you started.  Basically, if you limit your exposure to triclosan, you will be doing yourself, your wallet, and then environment a favor.

What kind of soaps do you use?  Are you an antibacterial fan?

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51 Responses to “Save Money, Don’t Use Soap!”


  1. Stacy says:

    couldn’t agree more about the antibacterial soap – they kill too much!

    [Reply]

    Mrs Money Reply:

    Stacy- I’m glad you’re on my side!

    [Reply]

  2. I haven’t used antibacterial soap for years, maybe two decades since I learned how bad they are. We still use Dawn dishwashing liquid to wash dishes. I should look into some of the more natural ones.

    [Reply]

    Mrs Money Reply:

    Mrs. Accountability- We have a couple bottles of Mrs. Meyer’s and I love it! It smells sooo good and works very well!

    [Reply]

  3. Mike Collins says:

    We keep some antibacterial soap in the kitchen. It comes in handy when we’re handling raw meat and want to be extra safe. But otherwise I agree that too much is no good. I feel the same about antibiotic medicine. Doctors are way too quick to hand it out unnecessarily.

    [Reply]

    Mrs Money Reply:

    Mike- I do think it’s good when you have raw meat around. I think doctors prescribe antibiotics too much too!

    [Reply]

  4. Matt Jabs says:

    I don’t shampoo my hair – ever – I just scrub my scalp for a few solid minutes under the shower. This eliminates my need for shampoo and also hair gel… the natural oils in my hair allow it to stand on its own now – and no… it’s not gross.

    I just stopped washing my face with soap… now I just use a wash cloth in the shower to scrub it once a day. This has greatly reduced my need for lotion on my face.

    I only buy soap that was hand crafted from a local soap maker. I go through way less soap then I used to, save a bundle on soap and other personal products, and am lovin’ it.

    [Reply]

    Mrs Money Reply:

    Matt- I wish I could do that. ;) I don’t think it’s gross at all. Kinda sexy! lol

    I do the same thing when washing my face. I don’t wear makeup, so I don’t have to remove any!

    Hand crafted soap is amazing, isn’t it?

    [Reply]

    Curly Q Reply:

    Skipping shampoo is actually BETTER for curly hair, which tends to be more dry. The fanciest salon in NYC will tell you to rinse daily and condition, but wash no more than once a week with a sulfite-free shampoo. Sometimes I don’t even remember to wash that one time per week – it’s not at all noticeable. Oh, except that I’m no longer a giant frizzball!

    [Reply]

    Matt Jabs Reply:

    I’m bringin’ sexy back.

    [Reply]

    Mrs Money Reply:

    Why yes, yes you are! :) This made me seriously lol.

  5. Jenny says:

    I use local goat’s milk soap to bathe my babies, and I also like Dr. Bronner’s for me. I’ve been using some handmade bar soap for dish liquid b/c I ran out, but I will have to try the baking soda and vinegar. It’s what I use on my hair too! I hate antibacterial hand soap. I used to work in a hospital and had to use it all the time. It tore my hands up, especially in winter!

    [Reply]

    Mrs Money Reply:

    Jenny- Awesome! I would love to try goat’s milk soap!

    I know what you mean about that soap tearing your hands up- we have it at work and I use it because I’m handling money all day and that’s the only soap we have. My hands are always SO DRY. Blah.

    [Reply]

  6. Catherine says:

    I totally agree with you! Too much antibactieral can be bad. And that hand sanitizer stuff is NOT a replacement for a good hand-washing!

    [Reply]

    Mrs Money Reply:

    Catherine- We have hand sanitizer and anti bacterial soap at work. I feel like I have to use both because I am handling money all day and don’t want those germies! I try to limit the usage though. :)

    [Reply]

  7. Robert says:

    I don’t use dish soap often. If you clean the plate right after you’ve finished eating, a sponge will take the dirt right off. If I’ve only had a piece of toast or a vegetable, I use water and a paper towel only.

    [Reply]

    Mrs Money Reply:

    Robert- I agree. If you have veggies on a plate, how dirty is it going to get? Probably not too dirty. :)

    [Reply]

  8. Little House says:

    So true on that AntiBacterial Stuff. I have a little story to share: I’m a sub teacher and one of the teacher’s I’ve subbed for in the past constantly had her students rubbing themselves down with hand sanitizer. That whole year, the teacher was the sickest she’d ever been. Basically, her immune system never built up those good old antibodies to resist the germs her students were still passing around. Seriously, you need a little bit of germs to built up a resistance to them!

    [Reply]

    Mrs Money Reply:

    Little House- I agree. I think that we’re killing off a lot of good germs too. I don’t use antibacterial anything at home, just hot water and vinegar. :)

    [Reply]

  9. I don’t buy into soap being bad for the environment. I also don’t fall for the antibacterial soap marketing either. dove soap works fine.

    [Reply]

    Mrs Money Reply:

    Financialbondage- Agree! Soap like Dove or Ivory work fantastically!

    [Reply]

  10. Tegan says:

    I do feel the need to correct you on one point: the use of antibacterial soap doesn’t make ‘your body’ resistant to antibacterials. It simply creates an environment where there is pressure for bacteria with a higher form of resistance to said antibacterial to grow, thus killing off those bacteria that aren’t as well adapted. So basically you are ‘selecting’ for bacteria that are more resilient to grow on your hands (or whatever else you wash with the antibacterial soap).

    But I agree with you, they have a time and a place, and general household hand washing isn’t generally one of them.
    That said, not using soap at all when washing your hands is not really the best idea. Whilst washing your hands in hot water might be just as effective, soap actually has a ‘latent effect’ for lack of a better term. Basically, using soap means your hands stay cleaner, and less colonised with bacteria, for a longer period of time than if only water was used.

    [Reply]

    Mrs Money Reply:

    Tegan- Thanks for pointing that out! It kinda grosses me out. ;)

    I think a natural soap like Dr. Bronner’s is great for hand washing. I actually make my own soap and use it. :)

    [Reply]

  11. MJ says:

    We have multiple kinds of soap in our house!

    Antibacterial in the kitchen.
    Commercial in the shower (because Hubby is attached to a particular brand).
    Castile in the bathrooms.
    Dr Bronner’s liquid for cleaning.
    Homemade all-natural laundry soap in the laundry room.

    I’m still working on a homemade dish soap that works!

    [Reply]

    Mrs Money Reply:

    MJ- Homemade dish soap has been the hardest thing for me to make too! I’ve used Dr. Bronner’s diluted, and we just bought some Mrs. Meyer’s on clearance. The basil scent is heavenly!

    [Reply]

  12. Becky R says:

    HI! Sometimes I don’t use soap when washing some dishes as well. I also just use goat’s milk soap in shower and to wash hands. I don’t use the purell type things or antibacterial soap either. These are good points and money saving tips as well (why spend more on anti soaps when they are unnecessary?)

    [Reply]

    Mrs Money Reply:

    Becky R- I really want some goat’s milk soap now! I’m going to have to either get some goat’s milk from someone to make my own, or just buy a bar. It would probably be easier to just buy a bar. ;)

    [Reply]

  13. I use soap, but I scrupulously avoid antibacterial products. Generally I try to buy as natural a product as possible. And even with raw meat, I just wash my hands and the tools thoroughly with regular soap and hot water.

    [Reply]

    Mrs Money Reply:

    How Green- I use soap too, lol. :) When I have raw meat around, I make sure I use very hot water and soap to clean it. Works for me!

    [Reply]

  14. We use natural soap bars or for washing up a brand called Ecover. I sent an email to Mrs Meyers last week, after reading how wonderful it was somewhere, to see if it was available here in the UK, sadly not!

    Great post :-)

    [Reply]

    Mrs Money Reply:

    Laura@movetoportugal- I’ve heard of Ecover but never tried it. I should pick up some when I go to Whole Foods next. I hope you can get some of the Mrs. Meyer’s! It is fabulous. :) Thanks!

    [Reply]

  15. Kelli M says:

    I’m in the beginning process of switching to soaps without triclosan, and I found that Dr. Woods castile soap is more economical than Dr. Bronner’s. Just a little money-saving tip :)

    [Reply]

    Mrs Money Reply:

    Kelli- I have never heard of Dr. Woods soap! I’ll have to check that out. Thanks so much!

    [Reply]

  16. Nicole says:

    Oh my god, do I ever wish my germaphobe roommate would listen to this advice. He goes through an entire bar of soap a week, and spends 10 minutes with the water running scrubbing a spoon after using it for cereal. *sigh*

    [Reply]

    Mrs Money Reply:

    Nicole- You should send him the url in an email. ;)

    [Reply]

    JaNita Reply:

    Truthfully it sounds more like your roommate is a little on the OCD side. What I would recommend is try just switching slowly to more natural soaps. Or you could try and get this person into counseling. LOL

    Yes, I just found this, I know it is 2 years old, yet I am just starting my journey into the land of the Green. I want to do what is best for myself and my girl.

    [Reply]

  17. J says:

    Scrubbing your hands properly is an incredibly powerful tool against disease, and soap (of whatever sort) can greatly improve the effectiveness of hand washing.

    So, failing to encourage hand washing with whatever kind of soap a person might have available is doing no one any favors. (Also, you can’t make a /person/ resistant to antibiotics. Resistance just means that you killed off susceptible bacteria, leaving a less susceptible bunch behind. At soap concentrations, triclosan is not only harmless to people but fairly pointless- unless you’re planning to soak in it for an hour.)

    Unfortunately, most people do a very poor job of washing their hands. The advice about singing Happy Birthday just might do some good.

    Furthermore, you can make some powerful disinfectants in which to soak your dishes by combining hydrogen peroxide or a touch of chlorine bleach with vinegar. For sanitizing and disinfection, you can’t do much better than this using household ingredients.

    [Reply]

    Mrs Money Reply:

    J- Good points! I think it’s important to use soap. I just prefer something not antibacterial. :)

    Thanks for the info on the disinfectants!

    [Reply]

  18. I’m an anti-antibacterial soap freak! ;) I even did research in college that showed that the anti-bac stuff works barely if at all better than normal soap, and the sanitizer did a terrible job. Yikes. Excellent, important topic to post on.
    :) Katie

    [Reply]

    Mrs Money Reply:

    Katie- Thanks! :) That hand sanitizer makes my hand sooo dry!

    [Reply]

  19. Barbara G says:

    So glad to see your support of handcrafted soap. I have been making soaps, liquid and bar, for over 10 years, always from scratch. No one in my family uses anything else. I have not purchased soaps, shampoos, conditioners, lotions, creams, lip balm or even laundry detergent in so many years – I can’t remember. There is no dry skin in my home or my grown kid’s. And I am constantly mistaken for being 10 years younger than I am! Support your local soap maker – you’ll be glad you did!

    [Reply]

    Mrs Money Reply:

    Barbara G- Thanks! That’s awesome that you have been doing it for so long. I love making soap! It feels so much better for my skin. My hands have been so dry from the soap at work that they are cracked and bleeding :(

    [Reply]

  20. Chlorine bleach in your dishwater? Eeewww! That’s some pretty toxic stuff and really not necessary. Plain old bar soap works fine. In fact all bar soap is “antibacterial”, even without the addition of triclosan. The high pH is not conducive to germ growth. I’ve been making and selling natural handmade soap for 15 years. Great stuff.

    [Reply]

    Mrs Money Reply:

    soapbartender- Plain bar soap in the dishwasher? Really? You know I am going to try this. :)

    Thanks so much for the tips! :)

    [Reply]

  21. Carol says:

    I love and only use hand-made soap! My skin is so much happier! getaguru.com is an excellent soap maker, and Etsy has so many lovely soap makers!

    [Reply]

    Mrs Money Reply:

    Carol- I try to make my own soap but love helping others so I’ll have to check them out! It’s amazing what handmade soap can do for your skin, isn’t it? :)

    [Reply]

  22. Wise Finish says:

    Antibacterial soaps cause bacterial mutation which leads to super-bug bacteria that are antibiotic resistant.

    Throw out all your anti-bacterial soap today! MRSA, C. Diff & others must be stopped.

    [Reply]

    Mrs Money Reply:

    Wise Finish- I’m a big fan of castile soaps. They work great! :)

    I agree- we do need to stop those!

    [Reply]


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